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Detroit Lions: Four Things to Watch in Week 7 Matchup Against Cincinnati Bengals

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Detroit Lions: Four Things We Learned in Week 7 Loss to Cincinnati Bengals
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Cincinnati's Andy Dalton torched the Detroit Lions secondary for 372 yards and three touchdowns completing …

COMMENTARY | The Detroit Lions (4-2) and the Cincinnati Bengals (4-2) each sit atop their respective divisions.

Cincinnati is coming off an overtime win against Buffalo and, the week before, held the New England Patriots to six points in their Week 5 win.

Meanwhile, the Lions got a win against the Cleveland Browns last week despite Calvin Johnson playing a limited role. Johnson will look to be a bigger focal point of the offense as the Lions host the Bengals.

Here are four things to watch in the Lions' Week 7 matchup against Cincinnati:

Lions need to utilize Joseph Fauria

Undrafted rookie tight end Joseph Fauria burst onto the scene last week as he had three catches for 34 yards and three touchdowns. While his dancing skills may be questionable -- please, no twerking -- his production in the red zone is not.

He has seven catches on the year, five of which have been touchdowns. With Tony Scheffler still out of the lineup, the Lions need to look Fauria's way more. At 6-foot-7, 255 pounds, he's a big target with a great set of hands. He is a sizeable mismatch for any cornerback or safety.

In addition to Fauria, the Lions signed Dorin Dickerson on Monday, October 14 after they waived Patrick Edwards. Dickerson, who had nine catches for 117 yards last year with Buffalo, can play both tight end and wide receiver.

Like the Kevin Ogletree signing, I don't expect Dickerson to make an immediate impact. The Lions aren't even sure what his availability will be, so I wouldn't expect him to put up big numbers against the Bengals on Sunday.

Calvin Johnson could see more action

Johnson was limited in the Lions' 31-17 win against the Browns last week as he was still recovering from a knee injury he sustained on Sept. 29 against the Chicago Bears.

He had just three catches for 25 yards against the Browns last week. Johnson was used in a lot of decoy situations in order to spring Reggie Bush, and Fauria when in the red zone.

The Lions are no doubt still going to ease Johnson into more snaps, and Detroit's lead or deficit at halftime will no doubt play a role in how many snaps he sees in the second half. However, it's a good sign to see Johnson getting a bigger role.

Cincinnati defense stout

The Cincinnati defense ended Tom Brady's streak of 52 consecutive games with a touchdown in a Week 5 win, and Aaron Rodgers threw just one touchdown pass against the Bengals in a Week 3 loss for the Green Bay Packers.

Brady completed less than 50 percent of his passes (18 of 38) and was picked off once as the Patriots could only manage six points against Cincinnati.

The defense doesn't get a lot of turnovers -- minus-2 in turnover differential -- but they certainly know how to shut down elite quarterbacks.

Matthew Stafford is on a good pace right now throwing 12 touchdown passes to just four interceptions. He's making the right reads and putting the ball in tight windows.

The Bengals are ninth in the league in average passing yards allowed per game at 216.3, and the Lions are sixth in passing yards at 284.3 yards per game. Something has to give.

A.J. Green always a threat

After a few modest games against the Patriots and Browns, A.J. Green came storming back with six catches for 103 yards and a touchdown against the Bills.

With one catch against the Lions, Green will have 200 for his career. He will easily get that, but the Lions secondary will have its hands full trying to keep him out of the end zone as well.

Not to mention the Bengals have the dual running threat of BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard, who have combined for 532 yards and five touchdowns.

Detroit is giving up an average of 124.8 yards per game on the ground, good for 29th in the league. If the Bengals can establish the run, it'll set up play action for Green, who could have a monster day.

Both teams have a lot of talent. Detroit's high-scoring offense will be going up against a stout defense for the Bengals, and Cincinnati has two capable running backs that could give the Lions run defense fits. This one could go either way, but I'll give the edge to the home team.

Prediction: Lions win 27-24

Tom Mitsos is a Michigan native who covers the Detroit Lions for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. He also is a high school sports reporter at MLive Media Group. You can follow Tom on Twitter.

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